Messi, Ronaldo, Pele: Erling Haaland's stats on his 21st birthday compared to football icons

  • Kobe Tong

Erling Braut Haaland has the world at his feet at 21 years old.

Haaland's insane potential

What the Norwegian striker achieved before he'd even reached the legal drinking age in the USA is nothing short of staggering and it feels like every club in the world wants to secure his signature.

Whether it was scoring nine goals in one game at the U20 World Cup or taking the Champions League by storm with Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland always looked like a generational talent.

But it was his move to Borussia Dortmund in January 2020 that really thrusted him onto the shopping list of Europe's elite clubs, proving that he can indeed mix it at football's highest level.

Haaland to Chelsea ADVANCED TALKS (Football Terrace)

A future Ballon d'Or winner?

It's nothing short of mind-boggling that a player of his age can lay claim to a goal-scoring record of 57 strikes in just 59 appearances at a club of Dortmund's stature.

And it's leading many fans to suggest that Haaland, along with Kylian Mbappe, will hoover up Ballon d'Or titles as the rightful heir to the throne of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Now, that's all well and good on paper, but are supporters getting a little bit ahead of themselves? Well, to be honest, the statistics would suggest that they're actually bang on the money.

While it's impossible to predict the future in football with any sort of certainty, the trajectory that Haaland has set for himself just a few years into his professional career is truly remarkable.


Comparing Haaland stats to others

And we say that because Spanish newspaper Marca decided to compare Haaland's statistics on his 21st birthday, which came around last week, to some of the greatest footballers of all time.

Marca calculate that Haaland already boasts 113 goals for club and country across 164 outings, while also winning two OFB Cups, two Austrian Bundesliga titles and the DFB Pokal crown.

It's an astonishing tally that neither Messi nor Ronaldo could match when they had 21 candles on their birthday cake with the duo posting 51 and 36 first-team goals respectively at the same age.

In other words, Messi comes closer than Ronaldo to match Haaland's lightning start to life in the pro game, but still finds himself miles behind with the Dortmund poacher double the number of goals.


Mbappe and Pele top him

However, Haaland's total on his 21st birthday can still be beaten and the aforementioned Mbappe had actually scored 118 goals for AS Monaco, PSG and France at the same point in his career.

But neither of the contemporary stars can hold a candle to the 282 goals that Pele had to his name when he was age 21. We'll let you fill in the banks about the legitimacy of those strikes, though.



Nevertheless, regardless of whether Pele actually had 200 goals or 2,000,000 goals when he was Haaland's age, the fact of the matter is that Dortmund's lead man is posting historic numbers.

You know you're doing something right when you could retire at just 21 years old and still have your place in football's history books assured.

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